Maybe I should post this in Eventing, but I post here most often. I am going to Rolex this year and I haven't been for nearly 9 years so my mind doesn't remember many of the small details.
Are you allowed to bring coolers, food, drinks in with you?
Is alcohol permitted inside?
What time should I arrive to insure a good seat for cross country?
I am a fellow hunter/jumper attending Rolex this year! Many of my friends are eventers and my best friend is taking me as my 21st birthday present. Can't wait! I can't really answer any of your questions since I am a newbie to the Rolex scene. Will ask around though. Jimmy Wofford is doing a course walk of the cross country course on Friday I believe. I recommend looking into it and attending!
There is something about the outside of a horse that is good for the
inside of a man.
-Sir Winston Churchill
I haven't been since 2001, but my friend and I had backpacks (small ones) with folding chairs and no one checked our stuff. We only brought snacks and rain gear. I wouldn't think you could bring alcohol, but not sure.
We arrived on the grounds about 15 minutes before the first horse went out. Since you can sit at pretty much any jump you want the question of seating seems moot. Of course if you want to get a prime spot at the water jumps you might want to get there a bit early.
It was a blast even though the weather on cross country day was horrible. The mar on the otherwise fabulous trip was seeing a horse killed when he missed the jump. I don't think I will ever watch another event "live" again.
Definitely prepare for all weather possibilities. You can sit just about anywhere on XC. Definitely bring your own drinks because they'll charge you an arm and a leg there. The shopping is great though.
And yes, there is a small change that you will witness something tragic on XC. I was there the years Le Samurai, Quiet Man and Frodo Baggins had to be euth'd after sustaining injuries. I did not actually see the incidents though. You only will if you are literally right there at the fence. The horsie paramedics swoop in pretty fast and curtain off the horse.